Having a baby who struggles with colic is every bit as frustrating and heartbreaking for the parents as it is for the baby. Listening to your baby cry in pain is horrible, but there are some things that you can do to help soothe your colicky baby.
First, let’s talk about what colic is. Colic is crying spells in babies that last for three hours or more, 3 or more days a week, for a period of two weeks or longer. Pediatricians refer to this as the rule of three’s.
Colic crying usually happens in the evenings, but in some cases, it happens earlier in the day, and it usually starts around two to three weeks of age.
Premature babies seem to be more predisposed to colic than full-term babies and this may be because their digestive systems are still immature.
Now let’s talk about some tips for trying to soothe a baby with colic.
Soothing a Baby with Colic
Oftentimes babies with colic have issues with gas which can be quite painful for them if it remains trapped in their belly. Giving your baby a gas drop or two before feeding can help to relieve some of this gas pain. Make sure that you are also burping the baby several times during each feeding.
If you are bottle-feeding some bottles reduce the amount of air the baby takes in during feeding. If you are breastfeeding, you might want to take a look at your diet and consider removing any foods that might cause gas in your baby.
Bounce Seat with Vibration
You will spend a lot of time walking around lightly bouncing your crying baby, but what about when your arms need a break, or you need to run to the bathroom? A vibrating bouncy chair is the answer you are looking for.
The gentle vibrations can help to soothe your baby and sometimes they will even fall asleep in the chair, giving you a few minutes to regroup and some relief for them.
White noise can help to soothe a colicky crying baby, and it also helps them to stay asleep once they fall asleep. You can buy white noise machines that have heartbeat sounds that mimic the sound of your heartbeat that they heard in the womb. You can also use a fan to generate white noise or place your phone in the crib with a white noise playlist.
Lie your baby on their back and gently rub your fingers over their tummy in small circular motions. If you like you can use lotion, they even have some that helps to calm and soothe babies. These small circular motions can help relieve stomach pain and help them relax enough to sleep.
You can also try putting them on their side or stomach and gently rubbing their back. There are books and even classes if you are interested in expanding your infant massage techniques.
Use a Baby Carrier
Even if your baby is crying you still have to go about your day and a baby carrier can help with that. Placing your baby in a carrier where they can still feel and smell you along with the vibrations of you walking around can help to soothe your baby. They get to feel snuggled and secure and you get to prepare a meal or fold some laundry.
Don’t Overfeed the Baby
Many new parents think that their baby is crying because they are hungry when really they are just uncomfortable. Babies only need to eat every two to three hours, too much more than that and you run the risk of overfilling their tummy which is just going to make the colic worse.
Another reason that many new parents think that their baby is hungry is that they will suck on the bottle or breast as though they are starving. Consider trying a pacifier, or helping them to suck on their hand instead. The sucking motion can be soothing to a colicky baby which is why they stop crying when offered a bottle or breast. A pacifier will give them something soothing to suck on without overfeeding them.
Talk to Your Pediatrician
Talk to your pediatrician about your baby’s colic and see if they have any suggestions or if they can find a physical cause of their distress. They may consider changing your baby’s formula if they are bottle-fed. Some babies are unable to handle cow’s milk and may do better on soy formula or goat’s milk.
Ask for Help
Ask for help when you need it, and make sure that you can take a break even if it is just a short one. Listening to your baby cry is extremely stressful and frustrating and there may be times that you need to step away. If you don’t have anyone to watch the baby and you need a break from the crying place the baby safely in their crib, and step outside for a breath of fresh air.
Remember that colic is not forever, most babies grow out of colic by the time that they are three to four months old. Use these tips to see if any of them work to help soothe your baby’s colic. Do you have any colic soothing tips of your own to share?